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On September 21, The Hobbit turns seventy-five. That's not a very advanced age for a hobbit, of course, but it is still an occasion well worth noting. The Hobbit is a book beloved by millions, and it has served for many as the gateway to a lifelong love of Tolkien's works. Nevertheless, I often feel that The Hobbit lives a little too much in the shadow of The Lord of the Rings. Sitting on a shelf next to the three larger volumes that come after, The Hobbit is easily overlooked, dismissed as a simple, childish "prequel" to Tolkien's great masterpiece. The 75th Anniversary provides a wonderful occasion on which to turn the spotlight back onto this brilliant little book. I can think of no better way to celebrate The Hobbit's birthday than to give it a good, open-minded re-reading, and my book Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien’s "The Hobbit" is my invitation to you to join me in this delightful project.
For those of you who are not familiar with my podcast, The Tolkien Professor, let me explain something right away. I know that many people find the idea of "literary criticism" rather tiresome, and the thought of some English professor "dissecting" a book that they hold dear is rather awful. In my book, I seek only to invite you to take a slow stroll through The Hobbit with me, stopping long enough to pay attention to its subtleties and to take note of the larger themes and ideas the story engages with. I won't be examining the book like a lab specimen, but enjoying it with you and sharing with you the things I find so amazing about this book. Whether you are reading The Hobbit for the first time or coming back to it for the thirtieth time, I think you will find that there are always new marvels to discover.
To my podcast listeners, let me express my gratitude and my admiration. This book is not only for you, it is also from you; it is the product of your enthusiasm as much as of mine. When I started my podcast in 2009, thinking it would be fun to share some of my thoughts about my favorite books, I had no idea how dynamic, how thoughtful, and how dedicated an audience would find me. I have enjoyed the last three years of discussion, debate, and camaraderie with you enormously. This book is only one of the first fruits to be borne by the branch of the Tree of Story that we have been unfolding together, and I am tremendously excited to see what else we will build together.
I hope you will all have the chance to read The Hobbit again this fall, and thanks for joining me on my little adventure.
Exploring J. R. R. Tolkien's The Hobbit by Corey Olsen is a must-have book for any fan of Lord of the Rings or Hobbits.
While reading Olsen's book I found, with each chapter, that "The Hobbit" was truly opening itself up as a far more complex story.
The most important thing is that I learned something, and this book will make my next reading of The Hobbit even more fun.
Dr. Olsen is one of the most insightful scholars on J.R.R. Tolkien today. While his research is thorough, his writing style is accessible to scholars and laypersons alike. Read morePublished 10 days ago by Thomas G. Romano
Corey Olsen is the Tolkien Professor for a reason. This is an excellent overview of The Hobbit in light of a close reading without a lot of theoretical baggage. Read morePublished 1 month ago by robosnake
This was an excellent book. It really helped me to understand the deeper meanings behind The Hobbit, It especially helped me to understand the songs, which I had always ignored in... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Michael Chastkofsky
Professor Olsen's expertise on Tolkien is well-established, and those who love Tolkien's book will not be disappointed by the scholarship here, with one exception. Read morePublished 6 months ago by sc
This book is best read by readers unfamiliar with the Hobbit.
Maybe I was expecting too much, but there was very little in there that wasn't self explanatory, or with a little... Read more
An interesting and well written book, very readeble and gives good insight in what Tolkien wrote in his book The Hobbit.Published 7 months ago by Emiel van Berkel
I really enjoyed learning about my favorite author and his inspirations for one of the most famous books throughout the decades.Published 7 months ago by Aaron Haecker
Absolutely fascinating from cover to cover. I've been reading Tolkien for a long time now, and some of the insights found in this book took me by surprise.Published 8 months ago by Eric Hibbs
Like some others here, I have read The Hobbit numerous times. I have Anderson's Annotated Hobbit and I'll probably purchase Rateliff's too. Read morePublished 8 months ago by M. Long